There is a surprise twist in the ongoing custody battle for Baby Veronica. Sheriff's deputies in South Carolina have issued an arrest warrant for her biological father, Dusten Brown.
Brown was ordered to return his biological daughter Veronica to her adoptive family in South Carolina earlier this week. But Brown was a no-show, so the Charleston County Sheriff's Office got a warrant for his arrest Friday night for "custodial interference."
It's upsetting news for Brown's family.
"I knew it was a possibility, yes we all did," said Brown's wife Robin Brown. "We know they would rather see Dusten than have Veronica and that's what they're pushing for."
Brown says her husband is currently in Iowa training with the Oklahoma National Guard, which is why he couldn't make the court-ordered meeting to give 4-year-old Veronica over to her adoptive parents Matt and Melanie Capobianco.
"We still have legal options in Oklahoma, which they're trying to completely bypass." Brown said.
The Capobiancos raised Veronica for two years before Brown gained custody. The Cherokee Nation spokesperson Amanda Clinton says issuing Brown an arrest warrant is appalling.
"Not only is the adoptive couple asking this child be ripped from her father while he is serving our country, they are also endangering his military career in the process. This is outrageous conduct," Clinton said.
The attorney for Veronica's birth mother, Christy Maldonado of Bartlesville, says the Brown family has held Veronica unlawfully for a week.
The Browns and the Cherokee Nation say they are exploring all legal options at this point.
The Charleston County Sheriff's Office says Brown is expected to turn himself into military authorities in Iowa. Although, Brown's wife says they have never stated that he will turn himself in on Sunday.
Attorneys for Matt and Melanie Capobianco and Veronica's birth mother have issued the following statement Sunday morning, in response to Saturday's developments:
The current state of affairs is not complicated. It is unacceptable. We now have a situation where Cherokee Nation officials appear to be actively assisting an ongoing felony, because they disagree with the final outcome of litigation in which they have participated in South Carolina and the United States Supreme Court over the last three years. Based on the defiant statements and conduct of Brown and the Cherokee Nation, it seems the lesson here is that Matt and Melanie Capobianco should have refused to turn Veronica over 19 months ago, and denounced it as outrageous that they were being forced to comply with a court order when they still had the entire appeals process before them. They did not do that, because they understood that they would be fugitives from justice if they resorted to ignoring the rule of law. The only thing that the contemplated "Oklahoma proceedings" will determine is whether Mr. Brown and those assisting him are also criminals under Oklahoma law, rather than just under South Carolina law. Perhaps he could just move to Arkansas, or Kansas, and then to North Dakota, then Minnesota – and continue to hold this child from her only legal parents – and force those parents to fight in court for her return in each state until they have domesticated the order in all 49 other states. And then maybe he should get more process in Germany, or Switzerland. To say this out loud is to realize how outrageous and offensive it is. The United States Supreme Court denied a stay after Brown and the Cherokee Nation begged them to intervene, recognizing that if the US Supreme Court refused to step in, they would be required to return Veronica to her parents last week in South Carolina. The US Supreme Court rejected that request, and these folks are acting as if the Court granted it, and have vowed never to comply voluntarily with final court orders. In the circumstances, Mr. Brown's arrest is not surprising; it is absolutely necessary to ensure that the rule of law is followed and a little girl is returned to her parents. Those who have physical control of the child are also actively assisting a felony -- including Robin Brown --who has declared that she will refuse to reveal Veronica's whereabouts to law enforcement and continues to vow not to comply with the law.